A dream simply unattainable. "Paying for men's judo semi-finals at 360 euros or women at 245 euros, it's just impossible for me financially," laments Matthieu, 33, who had "planned a budget" dedicated to the Olympic Games. "We are no longer in the order of reason since we do not intend to attend the Olympics alone, many families can not afford it," he continues, preferring to devote this envelope "to holidays or other less expensive leisure".
Despite a very strong enthusiasm for the second phase of ticket sales for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which opened on May 11, many Parisians have nevertheless expressed their disappointment with ticket prices that they consider too high. Some have even given up the luxury of attending this global event that they were happy to host, while others will be content with the so-called "minor" events.
"No more tickets available"
Among the most disappointed of them is Lou, who works in Paris and lives in Seine-Saint-Denis. Every year, she religiously attends the Roland Garros tournament and hoped "to be able to buy a ticket for tennis" as part of the Olympics. "One of my dreams was to attend the Olympic Games at Roland Garros and to encourage the French in this atmosphere. But during my draw, there were no more tickets available for tennis, and the prices of the remaining tickets for swimming that I also wanted to buy cooled me down immediately, "says the thirty-year-old, referring to prices ranging from 680 euros for swimming events "less unifying" to 980 euros for a final event.
Saying she is "very disappointed", the young woman also protests the price of the opening ceremony in category A at 2700 euros: "I understand that the OJ brand brews money but there are limits, especially for a ceremony that is popular and accessible to all". And to launch: "It's a shame because the idea retained of the procession on the Seine is incredible". For her, there is no doubt, the organizers still keep a lot of tickets "that they will put on sale a few weeks before".
Same observation for Cédric, from Hauts-de-Seine, who had the good surprise to be drawn for the two phases of sale, but who finally bought nothing. "I've been drawn twice, but never in the first few slots. As a result, I already no longer had access to the seats that interested me or at exorbitant prices, "he says, recalling that in addition during the first phase of sale, "it was necessary to buy a pack of 3 tickets at least". "It's simple, either I went to see sailing in Marseille for 24 euros, or I took tickets for athletics at the Stade de France for 385 euros. So 770euros to go for two, "he laments.
Others were even less fortunate and were simply not drawn, neither in the first phase that opened on 15 February, nor in the second phase that opened on 11 May. For Charlotte, a 24-year-old student, the disappointment is already far behind her. "I consoled myself by seeing that many on social networks complained about the price of tickets, but I do not let go of the case," says the one who has planned to "catch up" on the third and last phase of sale which must open "during 2024" and which will be "accessible to all, without draw, with tickets added over the water, "according to the organizers of Paris.
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Second choice and system D
Among the disappointed, there are also those who managed to buy tickets, but not for their favorite sports. This is particularly the case of Maxime, a 30-year-old Parisian, who explains that he obtained second-choice places for the Olympics "in minor sports such as field hockey". "I couldn't have any for the major sports or the opening ceremonies (July 26, editor's note) or closing ceremonies (August 11, editor's note) which were my goal. As a big sports fan, I'm bound to be disappointed," he says.
This is also the case of Tanguy, 36, who bought tickets to see the quarter-finals of women's rugby 7s, at 140 euros for two seats at the Stade de France. A very decent price according to him, but which does not really correspond to his tastes. "I live in the city center of Paris, I had rather imagined being able to go to the opening ceremony on the Seine, or attend the athletics events at the Invalides or fencing at the Grand Palais", "emblematic monuments of the city" according to him, but "out of the question to leave a minimum wage", says the one who relativizes by saying that he will rent his apartment on Airbnb.
Others prefer to laugh at it, imagining subterfuges to attend the opening ceremony, from the balconies of the buildings adjacent to the Seine in particular. "I regularly have meetings in offices overlooking the Seine quai de la Râpée, I tell myself that they will probably invite their customers," hopes Jean, 43, half serious, dreaming of spending the evening of July 26 on a barge of a "completely imaginary friend". But beware of the constraints: a certain number of them will be moved, while a very strict control will be operated for the other residential boats, on which only owners and guests previously declared in the prefecture will have access, specify the organizers.
'The price of success'
Questioned on ticket prices by several deputies, the Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games Amélie Oudéa-Castéra defended herself Tuesday before the National Assembly, describing the events as "exceptional moments" for which the prices displayed were below the average for this kind of event. "We have only 10% of the mass of banknotes that are over 200 euros (...) These awards are totally in line with the pricing of previous editions of the Games," she said. Before stating: "Given inflation, prices are lower than in previous editions."
But it is not only Parisians who would have liked to enjoy this exceptional event. Pascal, 49, from Vendée and an unconditional sports fan, is among those disappointed. He competed at the London Olympics in 2012 and remembers that tickets were indeed expensive. But a pre-registration system made it possible to tick the events to which one wished to attend "according to the rates". On the spot, accompanied by his relatives, he had also been able to afford other tickets sold "last minute". For Paris, he did not take the plunge. "We are obviously very, very disappointed, we had a lot of fun in London, and we thought that the day the Games were in France, we would jump at the opportunity, but I see the positive side, it's the price of success. The more we are, the less room there is, "he relativizes.
While waiting to know if he will be able to offer his relatives places for the Paris Olympics, possibly at the very last moment, the latter did not hesitate to register to be one of the 45,000 volunteers of the event. Today, he is one of 300,000 interested people who have officially registered to become one of them. And if he has for the moment no assurance that this plan B works, Pascal says he is already ready to participate in the Olympics on the other side of the mirror. And yet, one of the conditions is far from trivial: to be available at least 10 days in a row during the summer of 2024.